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Full text of "My Country And My People"

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ingenuity. It was that instinctive trust in life that gave us a
robust common sense in looking at life's kaleidoscopic changes
and the myriad vexatious problems of the intellect which we
rudely ignored. It enabled us to see life steadily and see life
whole, with no great distortions of values. It taught us some
simple wisdom, like respect for old age and the joys of domestic
life, acceptance of life, of sex and of sorrow, It made us lay
emphasis on certain common virtues, like endurance, industry,
thrift, moderation and pacificism. It prevented the develop-
ment of freakish extreme theories and the enslaving of man by
the products of his own intelligence. It gave us a sense of values,
and taught us to accept the material as well as the spiritual
goods of life. It taught us that, after all is said and done, human
happiness is the end of all knowledge. And we arrange ourselves
to make our lives happy on this planet, under whatever vicissi-
tudes of fortune.

We are an old nation. The eyes of an old people see in its
past and in this changing modern life much that is superficial
and much that is of true meaning to our lives. We are a little
cynical about progress, and we are a little bit indolent, as are
all old people. We do not want to race about in a field for a
ball; we prefer to saunter along willow banks to listen to the
bird's song and the children's laughter. Life is so precarious
that when we know something truly satisfies us, we hold on to
it tight, as a mother hugs her baby close to her breast in a dark,
stormy night. We have really no desire for exploring the South
Pole or scaling the Himalayas. When Westerners do that^ we
ask, "What do you do that for? Do you have to go to the South
Pole to be happy?" We go to the movies and theatres, but in
the heart of our hearts we feel that a real child's laughter gives
us as much real joy and happiness as an imaginary child's
laughter on the screen. We compare the two and we stay at
home. We do not believe that kissing one's own wife is neces*
sarily insipid, and that other people's wives are necessarily
more beautiM because they are other people's wives. We do
not ache to reach the foot of the mountain when we are in the
middle of the lake, and we do not ache to be at the top of the
hill when we are at its foot. We drink what wine there is in tibe
pot and enjoy what scenery there is before our eyes.